Aquaponic Gardening

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Our success with wicking bed growing using aquaponic system water for fertilizer has led us to integrate the beds into the system. We are experimenting with techniques and interested in what others are doing. What are you doing with wicking beds? What are your ideas for integration??

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This is one of my MANY experiments. This is a way of integrating wicking beds into a raft system.

This is a carrot bed on a 2x2 raft. Underneath the coir is a nylon rope wick to draw the system water up.

These are all wicking water up to the coir using a nylon wick. It is working too well and I an having damping off issues with the plants in the flats. The coir is actually on the verge of being water logged. I will replant the flats after removing some of the wick so they are not so wet. You can see spinach starts in the right flat.

Diversified medias in the in the aquaponic system allow diversified crops..I love it.  We have used soil filled clay pots placed in gaps between plants in our gravel beds as seed starters, raised so about half of the pot gets wet.  Balancing the mixture so it does not stay too soggy you have to play with.  We found that 1 part organic soil,1 part peat, and 1 part vermiculite works for us.  The peat will have an effect on your ph, not a dramatic one, one you may desire to stabilize.  Still you will want to monitor it after introducing them.  The coir/worm process is what is fascinating to me.  Where do you find the coir?

Great idea Linda. I used to get my coir in large blocks from a commercial greenhouse supply store. You can also get it at your local dope growing store for 3x-4x the price. I have not bought any for a long time though. Could you please post a picture of your technique so we all can see.

How many wicks, what diameter of nylon and how long, do they go to the bottom of the trough and up to the top of the grow bed?

I am going to use this right away, great idea.



Chris Smith said:

This is one of my MANY experiments. This is a way of integrating wicking beds into a raft system.

This is a carrot bed on a 2x2 raft. Underneath the coir is a nylon rope wick to draw the system water up.

These are all wicking water up to the coir using a nylon wick. It is working too well and I an having damping off issues with the plants in the flats. The coir is actually on the verge of being water logged. I will replant the flats after removing some of the wick so they are not so wet. You can see spinach starts in the right flat.

Ive tried multiple ideas but putting on the DWC table was the easiest for me. I'll have to upload a pic soon. Im still rebuilding my pond house from the storm damage right now. I used 50:50 peatmoss and vermiculite in regular grow pots. Initially I used cotton rope for wick but that rotted out quickly. I switched to shammy material and it's working ok. There is one cuke that has 8-10 runners coming off it and is smothering the whole table. I didnt think that it would work that well but this growth is just superior!

Chris, im looking for feed back on our new integrated wicking beds. Im running a 500 gph pump to circulate ap water through the bottom to keep the water fresh. Using a coir, soil blend, with "Yum Yum Mix" added, and then a shot of compost tea to kick things off.

i will post pics as we make progress. 

 

 

 

 

4" of live ap gravel and worms

2" of vermiculite and coir

 

...this shows the progress of the layering.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1" of fine coir

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

weed block fabric

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

coir-soil blend, only at about 8" deep.. still need more soil and coir to get to 12" deep. i plan to reuse the coir from my weekly lettuce harvest to add to the beds... should make for a zero waste operation.

 

 

 

 

Rob, it looks great!  Has it effected your water quality in your AP system?

2J.. its not connected to the ap system yet. so far im top watering it.. but plan to add a sump and pump to recirculate the water through the beds to keep the water aerated. ...i may connect it to the ap system later.

Nice Rob, I've been planning a similar wicking bed. Does the snaked black drain pipe feed the plenum with water, or drain the water from the plenum?

I love the hoop-row inside the hoop-house. That's for especially cold nights, eh?

Thanks Jon, the pipe is for distributing the water through the beds, it drains to the plenum, then will recirculate to the sump and back to the beds. im using a standpipe to control the water level... im guessing it holds about 75 gallons in each bed.

 

the mini quonsets have been great with the cold weather... im trying to keep my basil from freezing with out heating the big greenhouse... so far i havent ran the big heater yet, and with 25-30 degree temps outside, the basil stays at about 60 degrees... the tank heaters are set at 65.... with any luck, i hope to keep the lettuce growing in the summer... im thinking mini chiller wall.. :-)

Hey guys, cant find much info on more experimental wicking beds. I was wondering if raising and lowering the water level regularly would work as a technique for sucking more air into the medium.
Also about aerating the water in the aquifer(cant spell the resivour word)

Looking to buy about 40 x 85L fiberglass tubs (cheap) and set up a lot of boxes at once - so really would like to get a design that I can modify or that allows for some advanced adaptation without having to empty and start over.

Anyone have any thoughts on this?

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